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Cadbury gets interim MD

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December 04, 2006/ punch



An interim Managing Director has been appointed for Cadbury Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes. He is Mr. Wallace Gallant.

Gallant replaces Mr. Bunmi Oni, whose tenure ended abruply following alleged discrepancies in the financial accounts of the company.

The new helmsman will hold the post until Cadbury Schweppes, the United Kingdom parent company, appoints a substantive CEO.

Company sources told our correspondents on Sunday that Gallant held a meeting with the staff last week, where he confirmed that Oni had stepped aside pending the outcome of the scrutiny of the company’s accounts.

Gallant, 60, was quoted by a source as saying that his mission was to keep the company steady.

The source said Gallant has a wide experience of Cadbury’s operations in Africa.

“He had worked in South Africa, Egypt and Kenya. Besides, he is married to an African,” the sources added.

Cadbury Nigeria had said that the report of the investigations into the accounts of the company by Price WaterhouseCoopers would be ready before December 12.

The Public Relations Manager, Cadbury Nigeria, Mr. Kufre Ekanem, could not be reached for confirmation of the development on Sunday .

Cadbury Schweppes had said that the report of the investigation into the Cadbury Nigeria accounts would be announced at the group’s trading update at the London Stock Exchange scheduled for December 12, 2006.

The Chairman of the Board, Cadbury Nigeria, Mr. Uduimo Itsueli, had on November 16 disclosed that an independent accounting firm had been appointed to investigate the discrepancies, which he said were discovered through an internal review.

“Our company will continue to operate and trade in line with good corporate governance. We have informed all our stakeholders, including the stock market about this development,” Itsueli said.

Our sources said the company had also beefed up security around some of its expatriate staff.

“Since the report that millions of pounds were inflated, the expatriates now work under tight security for fear of being harmed,” said one of the sources, who pleaded anonymity .

Despite assurances by Cadbury Schweppes that the probe would not affect the group’s performance, shares of Cadbury Nigeria slipped on the Nigerian Stock Exchange from N57 to N54 on November 22, 2006.

In order to avert a further fall in the share price , the NSE placed the stocks on technical suspension.

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